Fresh off winning three Grammys, Olivia Rodrigo certainly has one of the most — if not the most — in-demand tours this spring. On the sold-out Sour Tour, the fast-rising pop star made her Detroit debut at the Masonic Temple. The venue was buzzing from the get-go: Before doors even opened, the line snaked seven blocks through the streets of the city. Rodrigo also earned a bit of Motor City bona fides, mentioning how she visited Jack White’s Third Man Pressing and affixing some Detroit stickers to the stage to bring a piece of the city with her through the rest of the tour. Here are five moments that stood out from the set:
Opening with a Bang
When the lights dimmed and “Sour Tour” was projected on the curtains that shielded the stage from view, the screams of the packed crowd reached a fever pitch. Bursts of a heavy guitar riff cut in and out, amplifying the anticipation of the audience. When the curtains opened, Rodrigo launched into the pop-punk rocker “brutal,” setting the tone for the energy of the show from the very beginning. Between this and “jealousy,” she showed impressive stage presence from the outset, engaging all sides of the crowd and pogoing across the stage.
Red Lights for Drivers License
Rather than saving it for the end or the encore, she frontloaded her smash hit debut single “drivers license” to tremendous impact early in the set. Seated behind the piano, Rodrigo led a massive singalong with her soaring vocals. And when she reached the climax of the song, the lighting dramatically changed to a fiery red for the “red lights, stop signs” line.
Rodrigo filled in the set with a couple of covers that paid tribute to her pop-punk/alt-rock influences: First was Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated,” and later in the set was Veruca Salt’s “Seether.” The former was a faithful cover and a great thematic fit among the Sour tracks. And the latter showcased how Rodrigo could handle hard-edged rock vocals just as well as pristine pop notes. Both tracks were also sustained by the impressive backing band, particularly on the driving guitar riffs and screeching solo of “Seether.”
Crowning Sour Prom Queen
Rodrigo showed the power of her voice on the heartrending “traitor,” leading a defiant call-and-response with the audience that eagerly screamed the words out. After, she noted that this was Gracie Abrams’ last date on tour as the opener. Rodrigo made sure to give her a huge shout out when they were both onstage: “I’ve always fantasized about a real prom — I think no prom would be complete without prom queen.” In a fun bit, she also brought up a few audience members who were dressed for prom (each earning a crown and sash alongside Abrams), and the backing band leaned into ’80s-style dance hall vibes by covering the instrumentals of Tears for Fears’ “Head Over Heels” for this segment.
Even as the set wound down, Rodrigo still had a couple massive hits in the tank. After honoring Abrams, she teased, “I just asked you to prom really … does anyone here get deja vu?” This segued into the main set closer, “deja vu,” with Rodrigo perched atop the piano. For one more cathartic moment, Rodrigo bounded across the stage as the audience screamed along to the lyrics.
After, she briefly departed from the stage — but a booming cheer of “Oliv-i-a! Oliv-i-a!”, accentuated by an accelerating drum beat, quickly reeled her back in. She finished the show with “good 4 u” as the encore, with the rocking track powered by the backing band’s two guitarists. Toward the end, she got the crowd clapping along and mirroring her “maybe I’m too emotional” line before a storm of confetti fluttered down during the song’s electrifying coda.
Given the massive popularity of Sour, it’s no surprise that Rodrigo could pack in this 4,500+ capacity room with a sea of adoring fans — still no small feat for a debut tour. The wild thing is this may be the last time these fans see her in this intimate a venue before she graduates to arenas and festival headlining status. She’s got the vocal chops in both the quiet and loud moments, she’s got the stage presence and infectious energy, and she’s got a capable backing band that can play to an array of her musical influences and styles. The future’s looking anything but brutal out here.